Several years ago, on a warm summer evening in New York City, three women sat at a sidewalk table in front of a pub drinking cocktails and discussing men as cocktail-drinking women often do.
Two of the women had only just met. The youngest of the three, a Swedish woman named Sofia hadn’t made the best of impressions on the woman to whom she had just been introduced. Before Sofia had even sat down, her strikingly beautiful blue eyes suddenly become cold as she looked the woman up and down, as if trying to determine if this new contact would be of use to her. With a gap-filled smile incongruous to an otherwise pretty face, Sofia sat, casting a disapproving glance around at the selected establishment. Sofia immediately suggested a change of venue, perhaps they could go to a club like Marquee. The two other women politely declined Sofia’s counter-offer, citing work fatigue. Sofia announced she wouldn’t be able to stay long.
The woman who had made the introduction steered the conversation to the man Sofia was after, a prince Sofia had spent some time with. Sofia suddenly became more interested in girl chat. “His name is Carl Philip, he’s a prince. He’s very good looking…” The woman who had made the introduction interrupted Sofia, urging her to show her friend “the picture”. Sofia started to dig through her bag for her phone, sharing, “He’s nice. Even though he’s a prince, he’s not what you would expect. He’s more…” Sofia wasn’t sure what the word in English would be and conferred with the woman who had made the introduction, deciding on, “down-to-earth”. Sofia passed her phone down so the other women could look at the prince’s picture.
Sofia began listing other things she liked about the prince, which was more of a list of cool stuff he and his family owned than it was a run-down of his personality traits. Sofia mentioned race cars, a ski chalet, a house in the south of France and started to go into something else the prince’s money had access to, but the woman Sofia had just met tuned her out, staring at the picture. The photo of the prince was taken with a camera phone, indoors, but from the angle it definitely didn’t look like he had posed for it. The woman wondered if the prince even knew Sofia had taken the picture, it looked like a sneaked shot. The woman handed the phone back thinking the whole thing seemed a little stalkerish as Sofia gushed about the benefit package a prince comes with. There was just one little problem. Even though Sofia was positive the prince really wanted her, there was the matter of a serious girlfriend the prince had been with for years. A mere complication, Sofia was confident the prince would be hers. She was going to marry him, live in a palace, wear tiaras, become Princess Sofia. The woman wished Sofia luck, thinking to herself princes don’t marry women like Sofia, his family would see Sofia for what she was from a mile away and never allow it.
On Saturday, June 13th, the woman who met Sofia on a summer evening several years ago was proven wrong. Sofia Hellqvist, a former Miss Slitz and racy reality show finalist walked into the Chapel of the Royal Palace in Stockholm to Enya and emerged Her Royal Highness, Princess Sofia, Duchess of Värmland.
Flower phalli had been erected around the palace to celebrate Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist being joined as one and an orange carpet which didn’t quite match the color scheme or the drapes for that matter was laid out.
Sofia broke with Swedish tradition and had her father walk her partway down the aisle and the groom walk the rest of the way with her as Crown Princess Victoria had done on her wedding day.
The bride’s dress was three different shades of white and had been made by Swedish designer Ida Sjöstedt from silk crepe overlaid with Italian silk organza and lace applique. The dress was beautiful and in line with predictions of what Sofia would wear.
Sofia’s diamond and emerald tiara was a wedding gift from the King and Queen. While the palm leaf is a common Art Deco motif, I believe the tiara is brand new. It’s quite stunning and a perfect starter tiara.
The bride’s hair was style by Marwan Hitti who won Paradise Hotel the same season Sofia made it to the finals. I can only assume the harsh center part and tiara placed a little too far back was Marwan’s way of getting back at Sofia for any unresolved conflicts that came up during the competition.
Sofia’s make-up was done by William Värnild and despite speculation to the contrary, Sofia did not bend to convention by attempting to cover up the tattoo on her back.
The myrtle sprig Sofia wore in her hair is a Swedish royal bride tradition, it was clipped from the myrtle bush Princess Margareta brought to Sweden when she wed Gustaf VI Adolf. Sofia’s rose bridal bouquet also incorporated myrtle.
While most were in agreement that Sofia’s dress was very pretty, but somewhat underwhelming, the guest fashion was an Ice Capades showcase with tulle, sequins and rhinestones as far as the eye could see. Some of the guests appeared to be the victims of vajazzling explosions.
I have no idea who this woman is, but with her expression, unkempt hair, gardening dress and shiny pink pumps, she is the fashion embodiment of how many royal watchers felt on the inside about this wedding.
Someone had to bring some sass, especially since Crown Princess Mary of Denmark wound up being a let-down. Of course Mary looked beautiful, but part of me wanted Mary to show up at this wedding stroking a hairless Sphynx cat, proclaiming, “When Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset, people die.” The Ice Queen Disappointeth.
One of Carl Philip’s aunts showed up in pants while the groom’s sister, Crown Princess Victoria, wore a gown by H&M and the tiara I thought Sofia would probably borrow if the Swedish Royal Family went that route, the Connaught. Prince Carl Philip’s wedding was the first time his sister has ever worn the Connaught.
Prince Carl Philip’s other sister, Princess Madeleine, who is nine months pregnant, wore the Modern Fringe tiara and this expression:
Of course, that’s when she wasn’t wearing this one:
Throughout her wedding day, Sofia debuted a new princess hand gesture, the thumb’s up which she flashed several times throughout her wedding day, from the chapel to the reception.
At least it’s an upgrade from this one (and some people said she learned nothing in Princess School):
During the ceremony, some unusual musical selections were played, such as the Salem al Fakir cover of Coldplay’s “Fix You”, a Swedish version of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done For Me Lately”. Sofia and Prince Carl Philip aren’t the first Swedish couple to play pop music during their wedding ceremony, apparently it’s becoming a thing in Sweden. Sweden, stop it. Stop it right now. Don’t make me come over there.
The wedding was reported to cost 9 million Swedish Krona (about $1.1 million is USD) with an additional 1 million Swedish Krona in security. Sweden’s citizens will picking up a third of the tab, but the King has established a pattern of asking for more money after the wedding is over so Sweden’s citizens could wind up paying more of the bill.
During the vow exchange, Prince Carl Philip had difficulty getting the ring on Sofia’s finger which some suggested might be a bad omen. I think Carl Philip was just overwhelmed by the moment, the bad omen was in the carriage when Prince Carl Philip attempted to hold Sofia’s hand but she pulled it away so she could do a princess wave.
My sincerest hope is that at some point along the way Sofia fell in love with more than the idea of becoming a princess and developed genuine feelings for the man she agreed to spend the rest of her life with on Saturday.
It was obvious on Saturday that Prince Carl Philip truly loves Sofia. While Sofia didn’t have the same kind of emotional moments her groom did, she seemed very happy on her wedding day, hopefully it was because she married a man she truly loves and not because she acquired a title she long desired to have.